Could I Be a Family Care Manager?

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Could I Be a Family Care Manager?

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checklistI read and listened with interest the posts and discussion on the concept of the Family Care Manager by @Denise and @Trish.

In answer to the question, my first reaction was “No!” I wouldn’t volunteer for a position like this… but then I don’t have to, I am already filling such a role.

I was born much later in my family timeline. There was a 13-year gap between me and the next sibling. By the time I was in elementary school, my siblings were adults and already out of the house. I knew, even then, that I would be filling the role of caretaker for my parents and probably my extended family for the majority of my life.  I will confess, when you’re seven or eight years old, the thought is terrifying.

I am currently a solo parent and sandwich caregiver with children at home plus I care for my mom. Until his death last fall I was also the caregiver for my dad; my daughter has special needs and I am now coming to terms with the long term aspect of her care. I advise my sister who is the caregiver for her husband and due to my sister’s age and the fact that her daughter is herself a caregiver for another, I anticipate playing an active role in the care of my sister in the not too distant future. I’m in my forties and easily envision decades more of active caregiving in my future.

In response to Denise’ concern of how do you go on year after year, decade after decade? For me the answer is, my entire life was in preparation for this role. I can see now how nearly every past experience and circumstance contributed the resources I draw upon now.

Is there an end in sight? No, I don’t see a distinct end to my caregiving. I expect to transition from caring for one family member to the next until one day I personally transition from being the caregiver to being the caregivee. In anticipation of that I am preparing the next generation of caregivers who will come after me.

Although there are many caregivers in my family most are focused on a single person. I am uniquely positioned to provide some level of care for multiple members and multiple generations of my immediate and extended family. By my definition, I am my Family's Care Manager. I'm going to ask my kids for a raise.

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ejourneys

Jo, every time I start fretting over my own situation, I remind myself not only of what you do, but of how you face what you do. You set an extraordinary example just by who you are, and that has done me a world of good. Thank you for everything.\r\n\r\nI think your kids should give you that raise. :-)

Jo Rozier

@<a href='http://www.m40.siteground.biz/~caregiv6/members/gail/' rel=\"nofollow\">@gail</a> <a href='http://www.m40.siteground.biz/~caregiv6/members/denise/' rel=\"nofollow\">@Denise</a>,\r\n\r\nLong over due but wanted to respond to your ̶d̶e̶m̶a̶n̶d̶s̶ questions :-)\r\n\r\nThree ways that I'm trying to prepare the next generation for caregiving. My parents, partially by intent, partially by providence blessed my siblings and I by financially providing the wherewithal to care for them in their final years. My parents were part of the \"lived through the Great Depression--Greatest Generation\" generation meaning they wasted little, believed in not having any debt and saved aggressively. The results speak for themselves. Unfortunately I'm a part of the \"see it--buy it; instant gratification; fast food is not fast enough; what's taking the microwave so long\" generation. However I'm taking baby steps to provision my children so that they do will have the wherewithal. One key step I've taken is to invest in long term care insurance. \r\n\r\nThe other manner in which I'm trying to prepare my children is that I make caregiving and even disability and diminished capacity a normal part of life and conversation. We joke about me being in future wheel chair races around the facility and them feeding me soft mushy food. I'm setting the expectation that I'll be in a nursing home. What they don't realize is that I'm planting seeds for the future. I know that what we now joke about may one day be a reality. When it happens later, they'll know it to and won't be shocked and the guilt should be diminished. I know it won't disappear completely. \r\n\r\nFinally I am preparing my children by preparing myself. I'm trying to age well. I actually enjoy my present compared to any age which preceeded it and look forward to getting older and all of the changes it will bring and I let my kids know. I celebrate my fully gray hair even though I'm just under 50. Also since I've seen vividly what the end might look like, I don't expect that I'll live at home for the rest of my days. That's ok. This talk has extended to end of life and beyond. \r\n\r\nI've told my kids to not worry about the perfect funeral or burial next to my wife or any such fuss. They are to do what's most comforting to them, I'll already be gone and won't care. That was my approach with my wife and I want them to have the same freedom I had with her funeral and burial. \r\n\r\nThis may all back fire. Us \"Jo\" men are well known for our stubborness. I'm just as likely to be a cranky, old man like many of the men in my family. But I'll have fun doing so! :-)

Denise

Hi Jo--I am soooo sorry I'm so slow to reply. Obviously, I got really behind. \r\n\r\nI love reading your perspective, especially your insight you had at such a young age--that caregiving will be your future. Last Saturday, I attended a friend's baby shower and sat next to a nice young woman who started talking about her parents' doctor appointments. :) I later asked her about her caregiving experience: When she was a teenager, her mother had a stroke. She helped care for her until her mother's death 13 months ago. She also helped care for father, who died 18 months ago. Her caregiving experience lasted about 15 years. I asked her about in-laws and how she feels about caring for them. She wants to care for them, she said, and looks forward to it.\r\n\r\nI'd love to know how you're preparing the next generation for caregiving. Can you tell me a bit about the conversations you have with them?